If you have been a follower of my blog, then you know that I have been making prayer or healing hearts quilts for community and charitable giving since I first learned to sew and quilt as a small child. When I'm not making quilts, I'm making pillows, pillowcases, fabric bags, small format art cards and prayer flags.
Doing this creative work has been part of my heart and my healing arts journey since I was a very young child. It is simply who I am and what I do in the simplest meaning of my life.
I learned early on that my gifts with healing hands work, whether in my own home, in others homes, in doctors and therapists offices, or in hospital settings, was too short sighted in the big scheme of things, and too exhausting, personally, for me to continue doing 'only' that form of work.
And it didn't seem to matter how many 'recognized' forms of mastery I naturally had or became 'ordained' in as a backup. No matter what anyone says or writes, when you give from your heart as much as I do, it exhausts you. And because I believed that this 'ministry' if you will, keeping in mind it is non-denominational in all ways, was my life's purpose, I realized that I needed a different way to physically, spiritually, and energetically with my gifts.
With my passion for sewing and quilting, I realized that I could reach more people and infuse more goodness into my work by the creation of quilts, pillows, kuspuks, prayer pocket pillows, and prayer flags, than I could by helping people one-on-one.
Initially, back in the 70's and early 80's, I made the simplest of quilts and patchwork pillows...one of every design in the "Quilts, Quilts, Quilts" book.(when it finally came out).. and those pillows ended up on the reading couches of elementary and middle schools in the Salem, Oregon area.
Later, I began to make and then give away my quilts...first simply made, and then with more detail and creative patchwork. I've given to survivors of natural disasters...hurricanes, fires, floods, and tornadoes.When Hurricane Katrina, and then Rita, hit the Gulf states in 2005, I sent 6 quilts within a month, and 25 of my own quilts within a year's time. After those initial delivery trucks winded down, I made them for the Salem Interfaith Ministry...a group of many religious and spiritual denominations who simply band together, and help others.
I knew then that I could sew quilts, pillows, bags, clothing, and prayer flags, and give them to others in need.... and that the wonderful feeling that the giving gave back to me, was far greater than winning awards, or writing a book, or receiving personal recognition in any way! It was just deeply moving and made me truly happy inside!
I've made quilts for a number of hospitals in a number of states, for several organizations that help abused children, for mission trips to Africa and other countries, for programs to help mothers and children leaving abusive situations, children in foster care, and those in need of all ages from neo-natal preemies, to the elderly in hospitals or in need of a passage quilt in hospice care. As shown above, I've also made them for families moving into their Habitat for Humanity homes. I also make cloth baby diapers and bags for countries where babies have nothing...not even when they leave hospitals and are simply wrapped up in newspaper if the parents have no clothing, diapers, or blankets for them!
It is by far the most meaningful giving I have done after a lifetime of volunteer work in schools and social service organizations from Alaska to Oregon. While being in the education field taught me about community...both families and individuals..it is my own personal non-denominational healing ministry that has, by far, taught me..and given back to me, the very most.
Whether we give a quilt to comfort, or to wrap up and warm, or help buffer the pain of a hurting and loss filled heart, all such quilts given with love and made with both our hands and our hearts are 'healing hearts' quilts. But my quilts are made with the infusion of healing touch energies, a gift that I was born with, but that I later learned was inherited from my paternal grandmother. When I finally realized that others were born with similar gifts or were trying to learn to use whatever natural energies they had in similar ways, and there were actually teachings available..well, I studied those, just to make sure I was well versed in all of it, in all ways!
I have studied and practiced many healing arts: Therapeutic Touch, Reiki Healing Hands Levels I, II, and III, Healing Touch, a from of Medical Ch'i Gong and others. Added with the eternal and ever present of spiritual beliefs and prayer, it creates strong energy fields for the power of love when given freely from an open and caring heart. And to know, that my own natural and powerful gifts made enormous difference in others and in their lives, I knew I had to keep creating those opportunities for connection in any way that I could.
Later, many of my tiny art quilts were given to charitable organizations to raise funds for research, but even then...those tiny art quilts still go to someone who has found a heartstring connection and meaning from that quilt to their own heart....for we have all shared in love and loving, loss and losing , of those loved ones that truly are the very deepest and most meaning filled parts of our selves.
As long as it was in operation, I made and donated small format art quilts to the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative. It brought my own hurting heart great peace and comfort. 15 members of my own family have faced the dreadful disease of Alzheimer's (12 with my DNA) and now those beloved family members have all passed. Though I ended up creating and donating 75 quilts to this group, even as I traveled back and forth to Alaska to care for my parents for as much as 6 months a year and up to 4 trips a year, I still made and donated quilts. And even breaking and dislocating my wrist and requiring immediate surgery didn't stop me. Within two weeks I was sewing with one hand, and three months, creating quilts for donation!
So, if you think that you just don't have the time to make a quilt? Make a simple fabric postcard, a pillowcase, a journal cover, a little heart shaped pillow, an adult bib for a nursing home patient, or any other gift from your heart!
My own links and free patterns for comfort:
Free Babies, Childrens Quilt Patterns for children in need or in hospitals
Angel Wraps and Preemie Blankets for those born or lost too soon
Free Breast Cancer (and other cancers) Awareness Quilt Patterns
Free Heart Themed Quilt ...and many other small items...Patterns
Making a Heart Shaped Pillow for cardiac patients, mastectomy patients and others
String Pieced Prayer Pocket Pillow for any one in need of comfort
Quilted Book or Journal Cover...for someone in the hospital or on any healing journey
Making an Adult Bib
How To Make A Fabric Postcard
Make a Magic 'Burrito' Pillowcase
How To Make A Quillow
Free Patriotic Quilt Patterns for veterans and their families
Blue or Gold Star Banner for Military Families
2,500 Free Quilt Patterns...patterns for quilts to make and give...anytime to anyone